Remote preparation is the new normal for Giants as NFL draft nears

Tribune Content Agency

NEW YORK — Giants headquarters right now are in Massachusetts, not to mention New Jersey, New York and countless other states where coaches, executives, scouts and staff are working from their respective homes.

For first-year head coach Joe Judge, that means working remotely out of his house in North Attleborough, Mass., where he and his family are still based for the time being, waiting out the coronavirus pandemic.

This, according to people familiar with how the Giants are operating, is the new normal.

Their Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford is shuttered for the foreseeable future with New Jersey’s non-essential businesses ordered closed and confirmed cases and deaths continuing to rise.

The Giants’ daily grind is packed with video conferences between staff internally and with college prospects as they prepare for an NFL draft, an offseason and a 2020 regular season whose evolutions no one can define or predict.

There was still no official word by the end of this past week, in fact, on what the starting point and parameters of the NFL’s remote offseason program for players would look like.

Teams with first-year head coaches like the Giants were originally scheduled to begin their offseason programs with players on Monday, two weeks before the rest of the league. But it’s still unclear when, what and how the NFL will kick off its offseason program.

Not to mention that league wide, no one truly knows if a season is going to happen, or if it does, whether it will start on time.

Though league lawyers recently proclaimed optimism for a status quo 2020 season, NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills threw some realistic cold water on that Thursday, admitting “the reality is none of us know those facts for certain right now.” He said widespread testing will have to be available before the league can contemplate re-opening.

So all the league’s 32 teams can do is work to be prepared for a best-case scenario while waiting for more information.

Prior to this pandemic, Judge and many of his assistant coaches had been staying temporarily in the same apartment complex in Clifton, N.J., a quick shot up Route 3 from the facility.

With the training center closed until further notice, it didn’t make sense for many coaches to stay local, especially those with families in other parts of the country. So they dispersed and have continued to work remotely.

The league, which is controversially keeping its 2020 NFL draft on schedule for April 23-25, left the door open on Tuesday to the possibility of teams drafting from their facilities. That’s only if it’s determined that all 32 clubs are legally able to do so in a safe capacity.

If all 32 teams aren’t cleared to use their facilities, then all of them will be forced to draft remotely, a scenario defined by an NFL memo on Thursday as “personal residences, with a clear prohibition on any number of club personnel gathering in one residence.”

The latter scenario, obviously, would seem to be the most likely and prudent. It is difficult to imagine the NFL justifying the opening of the Giants’ and Jets’ facilities while the New York/New Jersey area remains closed for business and increasingly devastated by the virus.

The Giants, therefore, will follow state regulations and NFL rules on whether they can use their facility for the draft. Since that is unlikely, the team already has remote options to handle the draft if that is what is required.


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